Poznań – town hall

History

    The town hall in Poznań was built at the turn of the 13th and 14th centuries during the reign of Wenceslaus II of Bohemia. It first appeared in documents in 1310. It was than a single-storey, gothic building erected on a square plan. It was expanded in the 15th century, and in 1504-1508 the interior was rebuilt. The tower was erected at the turn of the 15th and 16th centuries at the northwest corner. In 1536 a great fire broke out, which also consumed the town hall. In the years 1540-1542 the building, and in particular the tower was renovated. Still, its condition continued to threaten the catastrophe. In 1550 the city council signed a contract for a thorough reconstruction, combined with the expansion of the town hall, with the architect Jan Di Baptiste di Quadro from Lugano. The work lasted until 1560, and as a result, Di Quadro raised the building by one storey, expanded to the west, added an attic and a three-storey loggia. During this repair a new clock was ordered in locksmiths master Bartlomiej Wolf. Clock had also a “clown device, namely, goats”. The clock was installed in 1551.
   
In 1675 the lightning hit the tower, destroying it with a clock. Renovated in 1690, it was not long, as in 1725 it was struck by a hurricane. In the years 1781-1784, thanks to the efforts of the Good Order Commission, the town hall was thoroughly renovated. It was then given a shape that is basically presented to this day. The tower was crowned with a classicist helmet, on the east façade Franciszek Cielecki painted portraits of the kings of the Jagiellonian dynasty, and under the central turret was placed a cartouche with royal initials. Another major refurbishment was made between 1910 and 1913, when the renaissance polychromes were destroyed, replaced with black bossage, but the goats returned to the tower. During the fights for Poznań in 1945, the town hall suffered serious damages. The tower collapsed to a quadrangular gothic base, and the interior was damaged by a bomb explosion. Renovation was conducted in 1945-1954, restoring the renaissance character of the façade.

Architecture

   The elevations of the town hall have a uniformly stylish, renaissance character. The only external evidence of the gothic past of the building is the brick fragment of the tower from the early 16th century. The front elevation consists of a three-story, arcaded loggia, over which three turrets rise. The oldest part of the building are the early-gothic cellars covered with rib vaults. From the halls located on the ground floor only one of them has preserved the original vault. However, the Great Hall on the first floor is one of the most beautiful renaissance interiors in Poland. It is covered by a richly decorated coffered ceiling, supported on two pillars. The remaining rooms on the first floor are the Royal Hall, which served as the venue for the city council, and the Court Room in the past serving as a place for consideration of smaller lawsuits. The second floor originally served an economic functions.

Current state

   The town hall is now the seat of the Museum of the History of the City of Poznań. In individual halls, going up, are presented monuments associated with the next stages of the history of the city, from the Middle Ages, to the present day. Every day at noon, you can hear a live bugle call, played from the town hall tower, during which the famous goats jumps. Museum opening times and ticket prices can be checked on the official website here.

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bibliography:
Website mnp.art.pl.
Website poznan.pl, Ratusz.